this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk, on pbs in america or around the globe. i'm mike embley. our top stories: china deploys the military as concern grows over the true scale of the coronavirus in hubei province. the us senate votes to limit president trump's ability to wage war against iran. the un says 800,000 people have been displaced in syria since december, in the offensive by assad's forces. antarctica registers a temperature of more than 20 celsius for the first time since records began.
the world health organization has requested "further clarity" from china about its recent official change in how cases of the coronavirus are diagnosed. the new, broader definition has produced what appears to be a spike in the figures in hubei province. there are now more than 55,000 cases recorded there. but the who says infection and mortality rates are not rising dramatically outside china. john sudworth reports from beijing. china's at war with this virus, flying in extra supplies and a reinforcement of 2,600 extra troops. but there's still deep confusion about the enemy they're fighting, how many it's infected and how many it is killing. until now, only those with a positive lab test were counted as confirmed cases, but lab tests take time.
now, patients confirmed by much quicker ct scans are being included. it's slightly less reliable, but it means the number of cases has rocketed. what's far more worrying is the big leap in deaths. the sudden increase is made up of those patients who only had ct scans, not counted before. but are those extra deaths added up from across the past three weeks or are they a new daily count, pointing to a hidden number of similar daily deaths? china hasn't told us. it's been focused on messages of loyalty. these patients had been sworn into a communist committee and it's been settling political scores, removing jiang chaoliang, the boss of the province where the outbreak started. the media are showing hard—working heroes stories, too. it is a driver's wedding anniversary.
"come home soon" his sign says. his wife's a nurse looking after virus patients and contact with the outside world is forbidden. from beijing, i ask if china can beat the virus. "of course we will win," he says. even in china's capital, the impact is felt. this shop is keeping a safe distance from its customers. china is now portraying this as a patriotic fight involving the masses, the enforcement of strict quarantine measures, and the mandatory wearing of face masks. of course, viruses don't listen to propaganda. they are best beaten with good data and an open and transparent public health policy. there's no shortage of fighting spirit, but there's so much we still don't know about how this is going to end. john sudworth, bbc news, beijing.
0ur correspondence in hong kong, nick beake, has more on the cases. yeah, i think everyone is trying to figure out what the latest figures are from china. we heard injohn‘s report there is some confusion about the way officials in beijing have been putting things together and sending the message out to the world. and, as you say, the world health organization is seeking more clarity on the methodology and the calculations that the chinese are using. here in hong kong people have been aware of the latest figures released for hubei province, specifically. oh course, that's the epicentre, that's where the outbreak began. the latest is there were 116 to recorded yesterday and 4,800 new cases. this now encapsulates, encompasses, how many people have been affected. and in layman's terms it means they're notjust relying on lab tests, but also if a doctor somewhere has seen a patient, maybe done a ct scan and looked at someone's chest and said
i think you have got coronavirus, they are now being included in the official tally. and nick, a lot of focus on these two particular cruise ships. yeah, absolutely. i mean, a lot of concern for the people who have stuck on these particular vessels. the first is the one in yokohama, off the coast ofjapan where we know 3,700 people have been on board and more than 100 cases of coronavirus there. a real bleak picture for people, many people have been in quarantine for more than a week. some positive news this morning with the japanese officials saying that the very elderly may be able to disembark, also those who are testing negative. the big problem has been testing everyone, getting through all the number of people on board. and the other ship you mentioned, it's an extraordinary story, five countries denied it permission to land in their country but finally it was cambodia who said you can find
a berth here. so we are hearing that people are allowed off that particular ship. that really illustrates the level of concern. no—one on that ship that has now docked in cambodia, no—one had tested positive for coronavirus. but it illustrates the concern about the spread. and that's felt here and all across asia, i think, mike. nick beake, there. eight republican senators have sided with democrats in the us senate, requiring president trump to seek authorisation from congress before starting hostilities against iran. it's an attempt to restrain the president's ability to attack the country. mr trump has promised to veto the measure. our north america correspondent david willis has more details. it's called the iran war powers resolution and it limits president trump's ability to initiate any more military action against iran without the permission of congress. and this resolution comes in the wake of the attack, of course, about six weeks ago, on that high—ranking iranian general who was killed in a drone strike in iraq,
qasem soleimani. that was an attack the americans which substantially increased the tensions between the two countries. well, today, eight republicans voted with the democrats in favour of this resolution, curbing the authority of the president in this regard. but as you correctly say, mike, it is largely symbolic because this vote, 55—45, fall short of the two—thirds a supermajority that is needed to overrule a veto by the president, a veto which he has vowed to impose on this resolution when it all gets to his desk. having said that, supporters of this resolution will take some comfort, i think, from the fact that the number of republican senators who voted in favour of curbing the president's authorities in this regard today is double the number that voted in favour when similar piece of legislation, a similar resolution, came before
the senate in july of last year. and, david, the president is saying this will weaken american national security, as he puts it, as he sees it, this is not the time to show weakness towards iran, what's being made of that? yes, that's right. and that's actually been a refrain that has been taken up by a number of his republican supporters in the senate, mike. but i think a lot of them, a lot of congressmen and women were indignant when it came to that attack on qasem soleimani, the fact that congress was not informed in advance and then received a fairly dismissive treatment in the view of some senators over the long—term strategy when it came to briefing senators by members of the trump administration's intelligence team. they were apparently somewhat dismissive about questions about the long—term middle east
strategy on the part of the president and his administration. and that is said to have caused some republicans to have basically cross the aisle on this particular vote. david willis for us there. in a rare public sign of tension, the us attorney general has urged president trump to stop tweeting about justice department cases, saying some of the president's posts are making it "impossible for me to do myjob." in an extraordinary rebuke aired on abc news, william barr said he would not be bullied by anyone but he said some of the tweets were a constant background commentary undercutting him. earlier, president trump renewed his attack on the criminal trial of his long—time friend and former advisor, roger stone. to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do myjob and to assure the courts
and the prosecutors and the department that we're doing our work with integrity. and i'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. and i said at the time, whether it's congress, newspaper, editorial boards, or the president. attorney general barr there. let's get some of the day's other news: boris johnson's first major cabinet reshuffle as british prime minister has been overshadowed by the shock resignation of his chancellor of the exchequer, sajid javid. mrjavid walked out after being ordered to fire his team of advisers and refusing to do so. the us government has filed new charges against huawei, and its chief financial officer, meng wanzhou. the latest indictment accuses the chinese tech giant of plotting to steal trade secrets. there are also new allegations about huawei's business
dealings with iran and north korea, said to be in breach of sanctions. huawei has consistently denied any wrongdoing. president trump has again claimed that the united states is "very close" to a peace deal with the taliban in afghanistan. the two sides have agreed a seven—day reduction in violence, in what may be another step towards the possible withdrawal of american troops. the us secretary of state has called it an important breakthrough, but said the talks were still "complicated." united nations officials are saying tens of thousands of people have fled northern syria just in the past 48 hours, as fighting intensified in the provinces of idlib and aleppo. 60% of those fleeing are said to be children. it's thought 800,000 people have left the area since december. rich preston has this report. it's freezing in northern syria. this camp has been overwhelmed by new arrivals. families are struggling to find somewhere to live and something to eat.
translation: the situation here is very difficult. it's snowing and the temperature is below zero. we're staying in because rent for a house costs between $100 and $200. but being out in the open is still preferable to this — unrelenting air strikes by russian forces, causing untold damage. russia supports the government of bashar al—assad in its mission to regain control of rebel—held areas. translation: we were sitting in the village and then suddenly the aircraft hit. look at this destruction! what did we do to bashar? let him go to the front line. i want to know what we did to him. turkey, which supports the rebels, has accused moscow of deliberately targeting civilians. moscow denies this. towns have been left deserted.
turkey has sent reinforcements to the border, warning it will strike back if turkish soldiers are hurt. 13 have been killed so far this month. the tension is rising between turkey and russia, but this is where it's being felt, 600 kilometres away from ankara and 3,000 kilometres away from moscow. richard preston, bbc news. president cyril ramaphosa says south africa's economy has stalled and public finances are under severe pressure. in his state of the nation address, he said state firms including south african airways and the power company eskom, are in crisis. nomsa maseko reports from cape town. the usual pomp and ceremony ahead of president cyril ramaphosa's state of the nation speech. but festivities didn't last long. what is your point of order? we have a matter in the house. proceedings were
delayed by a chaotic, hour—long disruption. the opposition economic free does make freedom fighters cold on the previous president to leave parliament after calling him an unrepentant racist. after that demand was rejected, they then called on president ramaphosa to fire pravin gordhan — the minister responsible for state—owned enterprises, including power utility eskom and the embattled south african airways. after all the chaos, the president finally spoke. our country is facing a stark reality. our economy has not grown at any meaningful rate for over a decade. even as jobs are created, the rate of unemployment continues to deepen. he pointed out the obvious — the lack of economic growth, unemployment, spiralling government debt and struggling state—owned enterprises. he mentioned setting up a foreign fund and a state bank but how this will work and where the money will come
from is unclear. mr ramaphosa also spoke about the african continental free trade area which comes into effect this year. and described it as a moment to give effect to the dreams of the founding fathers of african unity. it remains to be seen if south africans who are already disillusioned will believe the promises made by the president. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: scientists rewrite the textbooks on how the planets in our solar system were really formed. there's mr mandela. mr nelson mandela, a free man, taking his first steps into a new south africa.
iran's spiritual leader ayatollah khomeini has said he's passed a death sentence on salman rushdie, the british author of a book which many muslims say is blasphemous. the people of haiti have flocked to church to give thanks for the ousting of their former president, 'ba by doc' duvalier. because of his considerable value as a stallion, shergar was kept in a special, secure box in the stud farm's central block. shergar was driven away in a horse box the thieves had brought with them. there stepped down from the plane a figure in mourning. elizabeth ii, queen of this realm and of all her other realms and territories. head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: china has confirmed 5,000
more cases of patients with the new corona virus and 121 deaths in hubei province. the us senate has voted to limit president trump's ability to wage war against iran. let's stay with that story now. trita parsi is executive vice president at the quincy institute. he is also the former president of the national iranian american council. what do you make of this development? the president is going to veto it so does it have any significance? it really does, in this highly partisan atmosphere in washington where nothing gets done they found one issue in which they could collaborate sufficiently and that was on a measure to prevent donald trump from going to war with iran and evenif from going to war with iran and even if donald trump vetoes
this appeal, the constraints this appeal, the constraints this puts on him because it is a manifestation of public opinion because of the american public is not want war with iran, you cannot wish that constraint away. yet not enough republican senators felt strongly enough to avoid the veto ? strongly enough to avoid the veto? certainly but on most measures you do not have a single republican shift aside. it does not only show a desire of not going to war with iran but also make sure the constitution be followed. when barack obama constitution be followed. when ba rack obama was constitution be followed. when barack obama was president, these same republicans complain tremendously of what they thought had become an empirical president and here we see president and here we see president trump actually trying to ta ke president trump actually trying to take that step further and
these republicans said no. they are not going to seed away the responsibilities and duties under the constitution. does this feel you like the qasem soleimani was a turning point? and the sense that we were so close to war and many republicans are very strongly against further military engagement in the middle east. they want to leave the middle east. constituencies are clearly complaining about it. in fact donald trump set the trend, coming out strongly against the iraqi war. it actually ended up being one of his strongest cards because the american public is so tired of these was in the middle east. how does this feed into how iran is behaving and will behave next? i do not think this signals a weakness of
anything of that kind towards the iranians. it was written in the iranians. it was written in the constitution precisely because of founding fathers did not want to see the us pro itself recklessly is into conflict with other countries but the broader problem with iran, do not a significant change in that until donald trump and the economic warfare he is pursuing right now. that is the main driver that has brought the us and iran closer to warand in brought the us and iran closer to war and in fact they had been only minutes away from war twice in the last seven months. only when that policy is amended or shifted, whether through negotiation or any other mechanism, will we see a reduction of tensions between the two countries. trita parsi, thank you. the antarctic has recorded a temperature of more than twenty degrees
celsius for the first time since records began. although scientists say this may be a one—off and not part of a long—term trend, it raises concerns about climate change. the reading of 20.75 degrees was taken by a brazilian team on seymour island. the bbc‘s tim allman reports. time lapse photography showing a huge sheet of ice falling apart. this is the pine island glacier, known as pig, giving birth to a piglet. a ginormous iceberg around 300 square kilometres in size which scientists say, eventually broke up and shattered into pieces. another example of how rising temperatures are having a devastating effect on the antarctic. this is maxwell bay, where a chilean research team is based but something is missing, snow. there hasn't been any this year and that is becoming increasingly normal.
translation: these maximum temperatures used to occur once every thousand years, then every hundred years. and now we're seeing them, i think, in the order of decades. i think that's a consequence of climate change. this latest temperature, nearly a degree higher than the previous record, could be an outlier. but that seems unlikely. scientists say there is a noticeable trend, the antarctic ice sheet is melting. if it disappears completely, as many fear it will, global sea could rise by more than three metres. global sea levels could rise by more than three metres. that would transform the face of the planet. tim allman, bbc news. nasa says science textbooks will have to be rewritten after they overturned the prevailing theory of how the planets in our solar system formed. rather than crashing together to create ever larger lumps until they became worlds, new research suggests a more tranquil beginning as matter gently clumped together. this report by our science
correspondent, pallab ghosh. billions of years ago, the planets in our own solar system formed. it was a violent process of rocks crashing together and merging until they became worlds, which included our own earth. or so we thought. today, at a news conference in seattle, nasa scientists said that the theory, held for the best part of 60 years, was completely wrong. it is a wonderful scientific present and the results that have just been described to you are, in my view, watershed. this is how planetesimal formation took place across the kuiper belt and very possibly, across the solar system. further out, for much larger patterns, the most famous of which is saturn, then at the end, tiny pluto, 3 billion miles away.
then further out are four much larger planets, the most famous of which is saturn. and then at the edge is tiny pluto, three billion miles away. it is just one of thousands of rock and ice in an outer zone called the kuiper belt. these are unused building blocks, left over from the creation of the planets 11.5 billion years ago. nasa's new horizon spacecraft reached one of these objects, named arrokoth, last year. it is only now that scientists have been able to study it in detail. it consists of two boulders fused together. look closely at the join and there is no evidence of a violent impact, no cracks, rather a slow coming together, notjust of these two boulders, but a gradual accumulation of all the ice and rocks that built the planets we know today. he's one of the movie world's most iconic characters and the theme tune from his latest installment has just been released. i am talking, of course,
about james bond. pop star billie eilish sings the title track for no time to die. the american singer has just turned 18 and is the youngest artist in history to write and record a song for the bond franchise. let's have a listen. billie eilish sings: that i'd fallen for a lie you were never on my side fool me once, fool me twice how you dare the paradise now you'll never see me cry there's just no time to die that's it from me .
hello. storm dennis on the way this weekend, nowhere escaping the strong winds, disruptive in places but concern growing aboutjust how much rain coming from it as well. one rain band bearing south on friday but look how much rain is going to come from dennis on the weekend. this trailing weather front has along it several spells of prolonged rain, particularly into parts of england and wales and areas that have seen a lot of rain recently and some flooding. we are going to see some furtherflooding in places. the met office has a number of amber warnings in force for the rain and we'll look at those and other warnings injust a moment. and for friday, another spell of a rain moving south. quickly through northern ireland across scotland, coupled with snowmelt in southern scotland and a bit of flooding in some spots.
rain becoming patchy in places as it works further south across england and wales. gusty winds though, particularly towards the north and north—west of scotland with further blustery showers moving in here. by friday evening, the rain peps up a bit once it reaches south—east england and east anglia. for man overnight and into saturday morning, it is the lull before the storm and still some dry weather first thing on saturday but it's not going to last. storm dennis then does bring rain in right across the uk during saturday. outbreaks of heavy rain at times and the wind strengthening particularly for the afternoon and into the evening before easing a bit into overnight and into sunday morning. wind gusts around 50 mph around the coast towards the west and south touching 70 mph perhaps in a few spots. really difficult travelling conditions. on the face of it, mild, but very wet and windy in places. heavy rain continuing across large parts of england and wales on through the night and into sunday. slowly clearings southward on sunday but it looks like the winds will pick up again this on sunday. bright skys and a few showers following on behind, turning a bit cooler too. looking at the weather warnings. the met office, amber warnings for rain across a large part of southern and western england and into wales, 20 to 110 millimetres. higher amounts, particularly in these areas and some of the hills of wales
and south—west england could end up with over 100 millimetres of rain, so that risk of flooding increasing over the weekend. another amber warning area kicking in on sunday too forfurther prolonged rain across this part of southern england. in terms of the wind, well, widely, we're going to see some gusts inland around 50 mph or so but is the coast that we'll see stronger winds this time — touching 70 mph. then as storm dennis gets closer to scotland to end sunday and here into northern ireland, we could well see a number swathe of potentially damaging winds moving on through. that is your latest about storm dennis.
this is bbc news. the headlines: in china, officials have confirmed at least 5,000 more cases of the coronavirus. 121 new deaths have been reported. the world health organisation has requested "further clarity" about a recent change in how china defines and diagnoses the disease. there are now more than 55,000 cases in the country. the us senate has voted to limit president trump's ability to wage waragainst iran. eight senators from his own republican party sided with democrats to require him to seek authorisation from congress before starting further hostilities. mr trump says the move threatens us national security and that he will veto it. un officials are saying since december, 800,000 people have been forced from their homes by president assad's latest military offensive in northern syria. it's believed around 60% are children.